Serving Patients in Southern Maryland
For Physicians: Diagnostic Hearing Testing and Audiology Referral Services
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We treat and evaluate our patients individually and we collaborate with local physicians to provide continuity of care. Hearing Professionals offers the following diagnostic hearing and vestibular testing and services.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
This is a comprehensive test that will evaluate the neural conduction of the auditory nerve from the inner ear up to the middle of the brainstem. It is used to identify possible central nervous system causes of hearing loss. This test is most commonly used to diagnose an Acoustic Neuroma or Vestibular Schwannoma, which is a very small tumor that is located on the auditory nerve that is very slow growing. Many people have these tumors for years without any signs or symptoms.
Auditory Steady State Response (ASSR)
The ASSR is a more specific test of the auditory nerve. If the ABR test, information referred to above, is found to be normal this test may be used to locate smaller growths on the auditory nerve.
Computerized Dynamic Visual Acuity Test (CDVAT)
The CDVAT screening test is utilized for identifying dysfunction of the vestibular ocular reflex. This reflex allows us to maintain stability of our vision when we are turning our heads or when there is an object moving within in our field of vision. A dysfunction of the visual ocular reflex can give a person the sensation of lightheadedness or dizziness.
Cerumen, commonly called ear wax, is produced in the outer 1/3 of the ear canal. 95% of the population maintains open ear canals by regularly showering and bathing and allowing the cerumen to naturally travel out of the ear. Some people however, due to an over production of cerumen, improper “Q-tip” usage, and other factors may require the cerumen to be removed by an audiologist. The consistency of the wax determines the method used. Manual removal methods use specialized tools with loops that are affixed to a penlight and/or a tiny vacuum. Extremely impacted earwax or hardened earwax might require treatments of a softening solution. Cerumen management is a preventative maintenance procedure. The audiologist will work with the patient on routine ear care and set a quarterly schedule for cerumen removal and follow-up visits.
Comprehensive Hearing Evaluation
The purpose of an audiologic referral is not only to measure the degree of hearing loss it is also to determine where in the auditory system the loss is occurring. Different diagnostic tests are used depending upon the patient’s age, history and complaints. Each test assesses a different part of the auditory system including outer ear, middle ear, cochlea and eighth nerve. Some tests use the patient’s subjective response (“raise your hand when you hear the beep”) while other tests objectively determine how well a particular part of the system is functioning.
The ECOG test is specifically devoted to identify the presence or absence of Meneire’s Disease or Endolymphatic Hydrops. These conditions are caused by an increased amount of endolymphatic fluid that is located in the inner ear, but it is different than the most common form of fluid in the ears called Otitis Media. It is important to know that a negative result does not rule-out either of these conditions, because they are known to have an inactive phase. During an active phase or “while you’re feeling dizzy” this test is most accurate.
Neuromonics is an acoustic-based tinnitus treatment program. This program includes ongoing personalized support, education, and monitoring from an audiologist that specializes in tinnitus. The treatment stimulus includes a pattern of acoustic stimuli customized for each patients specific hearing levels and tinnitus. This treatment is designed to retrain the neural pathways and takes place over a six month period.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
An otoacoustic emission test measures an acoustic response that is produced by the inner ear (cochlea), which in essence bounces back out of the ear in response to a sound stimulus.
After completing a comprehensive hearing evaluation the audiologist will work with the patient to match the pitch an intensity of the internal noises. Each patient will be asked to complete a tinnitus questionnaire. The answers reveal the patients perception of disability caused by the tinnitus. This information may be used in conjunction with the treatment method chosen.
Tympanometry evaluates the tympanic membrane and middle ear by measuring pressure reflected from the eardrum. The purpose is to detect middle ear effusion, ossicular discontinuities, otosclerosis, perforated tympanic membranes, Eustachian tube dysfunction and the status of pressure equalization tubes.
Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP)
This advanced test used to diagnose saccular hydrops, perilymphatic fistulas, and superior canal dehiscence. It is a noninvasive test that uses the sternocleidomastoid muscle, the big muscle that is in your neck, more noticeable when you turn your head, to determine if there is a response from the saccule. The saccule is one of the vestibular organs that allow our body to recognize vertical movements.
Vestibular Rehabilitation (VRT)
Therapy is a form of physical therapy designed to “reset” or “retrain” your brain and balance system, through specially designed exercises. Oftentimes these exercises will help to regain lost balance and stop dizziness.
This is a comprehensive test that will evaluate the entire vestibular system (peripheral and central). It is ideally used to find the most common forms of vestibular dysfunction, which may include BPPV, a unilateral weakness, bilateral weakness, and central vestibular involvement. This test is used to identify the need for further testing, as well as the extent of vestibular rehabilitation that will be necessary for treatment.
Visual Reinforcement Audiology (VRA)
VRA testing evaluates the hearing of infants from six months to two years. Sounds of varying intensity are presented to one of two speakers as the child sits on a parent’s lap. If a sound is heard by the child, then he or she turns toward the appropriate speaker and is rewarded by a visual stimulus, such as an animated toy or a flashing light.
Hearing Professionals participates with a variety of insurance companies. View our list of participating insurance carriers